|My beautiful friend Julia in a glorious ustrasana!|
Kathryn is doing a four class Yoga Crawl in Nashville; I'd love to go to all four classes but a) I think it would possibly kill me and b) it's expensive. So, I'm treating myself to one of the four workshops, and I chose this one:
All is Full of Love: Heart Opening, Back-bending Asanas
One2Yoga Sunday, April 3rd 11am-1:30pm
Time to open the windows, clean out the cobwebs and let some sunshine in! Backbends are gorgeous poses that take our heart, chest and shoulders into full expression. These poses rejuvenate, stimulate and get the endorphins flowing. We also carry some baggage and most of it can be found stored deep within our hips. Emotions travel into this space and without a little affection, grow deep roots and settle in which leads to discomfort and tightness. This workshop will nurture the hips back into a place of space and surrender so we can exorcise the past and move into the present. It will also prepare the body for deep backbends that will enhance your ability to blend strength and surrender and realize that all is full of love!
I'm currently focusing my own sadhana on opening and exploring anahata - the heart chakra - so this is really ideal timing. Tonight I lead a heart-centered meditation for my meditation group and I've been dedicating my own meditation and asana practice to heart-opening as well. Lots and lots of GREEN swirling around me these days.
I used to DESPISE backbends. I would literally freeze up completely when a teacher led the class into camel. Having a tendency to express fear as belligerence, instead of ever being honest about WHY I wouldn't explore backbends, even to myself, I just refused, declaring that backbends didn't work for my back, and I'd retreat to my comfy, safe child's pose. Of course I'd hurl myself into some version of the pose first just so I had proven to someone (who?) that I *COULD* do the pose if wanted to, but I just DIDN'T WANT TO, DAMNIT. =) Nothing wrong with choosing child's pose over a backbend, though - I always encourage my students to listen to their own inner wisdom and honor what they hear their body needing - I truly wasn't ready to explore backbends fully back then. This all shifted for me at Kripalu (what DIDN'T shift for me at Kripalu? I've been thinking a lot recently about how absolutely transformative that month was, and how I am still feeling and finding and noticing the reverberations of that transformation even now, almost eight months later!) with the love and support of amazing people all around me, encouraging me to step into my fullness. It was after I came home - literally, within a few days - that I found myself voluntarily in camel pose during my own practice. And it was INCREDIBLE! It didn't feel like I was crunching my back - instead it felt like this exsquisite lengthening and opening - my spine blossoming up toward my heart center - free and vulnerable to the world - radiating light and love and energy.
I'm still letting the experience of my four-day cleanse (which has now continued and evolved into a 21-day whole foods cleanse) settle, but I will write about it soon. It ended up being a lot more personal and challenging than I ever expected, so I need to make sure I know from what perspective I want to write and what I want to share in a public medium.
I've discovered handstand with my feet on the wall and I can't describe how incredible it feels. More powerful, for me, than headstand - a complete shift and release in the whole center of my body that feels so incredibly cleansing. It is my new inversion of choice. I see myself rocking some super-challenging arm balances in the next year. Limitless possibility.
I invented two salads this week that I have to share. They are both simple and delicious!
The A-Team Salad
- 1 whole red apple, washed, cubed
- 1 avocado, peeled, cubed
- 1 oz. whole, raw almonds
- 1 lemon
Tabouli on a bed of spinach with roasted beets
- 1 box instant tabouli (or you can make your own, but I really dig the organic boxed tabouli I can pick up at Kroger...)
Prepare according to package directions, then add...
- Juice of two lemons
- two diced tomatoes
- 1 bunch of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
- 2 large beets, washed, tops and bottoms cut off, roasted in glass dish with 1/2 inch of water, covered with aluminum foil at 400 degrees for 1 hour (or until soft when poked with a fork), skin removed while still hot with the backside of a fork, sliced, salted and drizzled with olive oil
- Fresh spinach